It’s a long journey to become a specialist GP but being able to train in Wagga Wagga made all the difference for Dr Katherine Smith.
“I finished my final year of medical school here, stayed on for my internship and residency at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital and then undertook GP training here,” Dr Smith said.
“Because I wanted to be able to practice in a community and look after my patients through every stage of their lives, I decided that general practice was the specialty for me.
“I really appreciated the quality and variety of medical education for trainee GPs in the Murrumbidgee region,” she said.
Since completing GP training, Dr Smith has been working in general practice and the Emergency Department at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital, as well as teaching medical students and GP trainees.
“I’m now at Hammond Health and I’m in the process of becoming a practice partner, which I find very exciting!” Dr Smith said.
Local GP training organisation GP Synergy CEO, Georgina van de Water, said Dr Smith is one of many rural doctors that have trained under the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program and stayed on after training to provide valuable primary healthcare to regional and rural communities.
“Since 2002, more than 10,000 doctors have achieved fellowship through the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program nationally,” Mrs van de Water said.
“Doctors typically spend three to four years in the AGPT program to specialise as a GP, with dedicated supervisors and regional medical education delivery and support.
“Feedback from registrars over the many years that we have been training doctors to specialise as GPs in rural and regional communities, is that it offers a rich and rewarding learning environment.
“Maintaining a strong rural training pipeline supports the retention of doctors like Dr Smith in rural and regional communities.”
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Kerryn Stephens | Media and Communications Officer